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Old 03-30-2006, 04:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is serving your country a higher calling...?

Than serving your city or state/province?

Is being a member of the military a more noble purpose than being, say, a firefighter or paramedic?

Further, would rather identify yourself by your nationality (Canadian, American, Brit, etc) or by your hometown or city or county?

I'm curious at to where people stand on this issue - over the years national pride and identity have been more important than civic identity, but equally, at other times local identity and pride has mattered more. Currently, I do identify as Canadian first, but in the past, my pride as Montrealer by birth has been more important.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think serving your country is a higher calling than serving your city or state/province being a policeman, firefighter or paramedic. Serving your town, city or state/province in these capacities is dangerous, maybe not as much as a soldier at war but these people put their lives at risk nonetheless, so we may live a safer life. No?

I never compared these jobs before but it seems they are more closely related than I thought.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I see them as all relatively the same thing (in terms of service to your fellow citizens). The only difference with a soldier of war is that you may have to spend more time away from your family. In the end though, that is just the nature of the job and shouldn't be weighed as *more* noble (do we say that prospectors who spend time away from family looking for new mines, or businesspeople who travel a lot are more nobel).


As for civic vs. national... Again, they are kind of the same things. The thing to remember is that you can hold true to both at the same time. I can be concerned about Toronto and want things for Toronto while having a pride in and concern for Canada as a whole. I don't see it as an either/or situation rather it a more complex relationship that shifts from the local to the federal depending on the issue and the circumstance.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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My spatial priorities are as follows:

1) Local
2) Global
.
.
.
100) National

I consider nationalism to be a mostly terrible thing, and I do very little to defend any one country over another. I usually say that I am from Seattle, not that I am an American (particularly because I have dual citizenship and draw from three countries for my background). I like to think in terms of localities rather than nationalities, and if I must think on a larger scale, I move to the global.

I don't like to think in terms of America's best interests only; I prefer to think in terms of what would benefit all countries best, which is often *not* what America's foreign policy is concerned with. E.g. with the immigration debate, if we would focus less on building a stinking (and useless) Berlin Wall between us and Mexico and rather look at the long-term of how to truly free up trade and equalize wages so that people would no longer have a huge incentive to migrate... now, that would be a more effective, transnational/global answer (to me) than the short-term, national-interest model of putting up a massive wall (that Mexicans will figure out how to get around, no matter what).

Back on topic... Now, not to say that I think soldiers are less than noble (they certainly are, for the risks they take), but there is a lot more going on with recruitment these days than "nobility" of service. But yes, I have an easier time talking with and connecting with local public service workers than those who sign up for the military. And I have an easier time talking with local soldiers (people from my area) than I do with those who are not. But I think that would be the same for most people? I dunno.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm the first firstborn son in 4 generations not to at least try for a military career, and there was considerable stress between my father and I my senior year of high school after I opted not to accept entrance to Annapolis. That said, I don't think that the military is a "higher calling" in the traditional sense. Most of the military folks that I know love it because of all the fringe benefits that they get and the structure that it provides. There were a lot of reasons for me to go to the Naval Academy, but in the end the doors that were open to me elsewhere were just too promising, especially given my motivations at the time. The paramedics and firemen that I know do it because they love the rush and the fringe benefits.

Obviously I'm an American, and that's how I identify myself. I'm not a "Chicagoan" or an "Illinoisan" (does anyone actually call themselves that?) or a "former Tennesseean". If I need to regionalize myself, it's usually by identifying with a sports team, which surprising works when I'm abroad, depending on the team (Michael Jordan still has fans out there).
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, my husband is active duty in the Air Force, so I don't tend to think of myself in local terms at all. We simply move too often for me to feel like any one particular place is home - the whole USA is home. I don't think his job is any more important or noble than "local" heroes. He's home more on a day to day basis then he would be as a firefighter, but he's also gone FARTHER when he leaves and stays longer. (He has been home a little over a year now from a year long stint in S. Korea.) I think in his career field that he has a much less dangerous job than an EMT, firefighter, or policeman. He's not cannon fodder and the chance of him seeing front line action comes after they reinstate the draft. Seriously, they'd use up draftees before they started pulling people from SO's career field. I think what makes these careers noble is the individual's willingness to put him/her self in danger for the good of others. They all fit into that category, don't they?
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
Obviously I'm an American, and that's how I identify myself. I'm not a "Chicagoan" or an "Illinoisan" (does anyone actually call themselves that?) or a "former Tennesseean". If I need to regionalize myself, it's usually by identifying with a sports team, which surprising works when I'm abroad, depending on the team (Michael Jordan still has fans out there).
Mind you, it seems to depend on the locality - New Yorkers often refer to themselves as such, for instance, as do Bostonians. On the state/provincial scale, Quebecers, Albertans and Texans spring to mind as people who often self-identify based on their state/province as much or more than nationality.
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by abaya
I I usually say that I am from Seattle, not that I am an American (particularly because I have dual citizenship and draw from three countries for my background). I like to think in terms of localities rather than nationalities, and if I must think on a larger scale, I move to the global.
I think that might be a factor too - many people have dual citizenship, or their spouse is of another background or nationality.
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClostGoth
Well, my husband is active duty in the Air Force, so I don't tend to think of myself in local terms at all. We simply move too often for me to feel like any one particular place is home - the whole USA is home.

I think what makes these careers noble is the individual's willingness to put him/her self in danger for the good of others. They all fit into that category, don't they?
I can see that, the mobility of people (whether in the service or not) makes them think on a larger scale in terms of "home".

To the second point, if a police officer and soldier are equivalent or equally noble/brave, would a city blue collar worker (the street cleaner, for example) be equivalent to the cook at an Air Force base? Or is the Air Force cook more "noble"?
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Nobility is what you make it.

I know some guys who are about as far from noble as you can get, and the city worker who is dedicated is serving their community is more noble, IMHO.

When you see the work you do as making a difference, that is noble. Cops get to break up fights and catch bad guys.

Soldiers restore peace and order when there are no cops left. Who says that is more noble?

The guy who works for the city and ensures that the power grid is serviceable, that is noble.

The car salesman that truly cares about his customers is noble.

The problem comes when you lose sight of your importance in the world. Nobility is pride in your work. You make a difference, and you can hold your head up when people ask what you do for a living.
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
Mind you, it seems to depend on the locality - New Yorkers often refer to themselves as such, for instance, as do Bostonians. On the state/provincial scale, Quebecers, Albertans and Texans spring to mind as people who often self-identify based on their state/province as much or more than nationality.
I absolutely agree, and I have friends from Boston and Texas who do the same. There are also regional identifiers, like Southerners. I just answered the question as posed.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I agree with BigBen.

I have met some soldiers who were rather ignoble. Does this mean they are all that way? no, but it begs the question - what was a person's motive for choosing to do something? Motivation is a pointer to nobility.

I think RE identifiers, this depends on the audience. Amongst other Aussies, I'd say I was from Sydney; amonst Sydneysiders I'd say I was from Northern Sydney (or more specifically the suburb in which I live); amongst non-Aussies I say I was an Aussie. Context is important.

If I met a man in Turkey and said I was from "Asquith" he'd probably say "Where?"
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nobility? Who the hell knows. I don't think people are noble just by virtue being in a certain profession. I have met many people in the military who certainly are not noble. I have met many cops who certainly are not noble. I guess I pretty much agree with BigBen. As for myself, I don't think I joined the military for any noble reason. I just figured I should put my time in for being able to live here, and because I wanted to be a Marine and make my parents proud and challenge myself.

I consider myself an American, and that's pretty much it. Who really cares globally though? Sure, I'm an Earthling. BFD, so is everyone else. When people ask where I'm from, saying that I'm a citizen of Earth tells them nothing. Nobody knows where the fuck my hometown is, and who really cares what state they live in? I don't consider any city or state better than any others, so why take pride in something that essentially doesn't matter?
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think that serving in the military is on the same level as contributing to science, engineering, teaching, medicine, transportation, sports, entertainment, etc. I will respect anyone who works in any of those fields.
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Old 03-30-2006, 08:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and members of the military all get my top respect for what they give to their country. Whether serving locally to keep the peace and ensure safety, rescue people and extinguish fires, provide emergency medicine and transport to a hospital, or defending the country at large in either foreign lands or here at home, they all put their whole lives into helping others. Of course, there are always the "bad eggs" who give their profession a bad name, but the spirit of the job is such that they get my highest level of respect.

There's just something to be said for the professions whose foundation is helping others selflessly, even knowing you could possibly give your life one day in doing so.

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Old 03-31-2006, 06:37 AM   #16 (permalink)
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No profession _in itself_ is noble. There are self-interested reasons for entering any line of work. Nobility arises in people who consciously use the tools of their profession to make the world a better place. _Especially_ when it is difficult to do so.

Professions like fireman, police, and the military can be places where nobility is shown. But I know people who went into those professions for the rush, for the action, and often for the the benes and training (in the case of the military). Nothing against that at all, but there's nothing particularly noble about doing something that you like to do or that is in your best interest.

Just as likely to be noble: the schoolteacher who puts in an extra day's work a week grading papers and prepping to make sure her/his students learn; the bureaucrat who stays late to straighten out the case of some poor devil who's gotten hopelessly entangled in the system and isn't getting the help he needs; the doctor or dentist who puts in a volunteer shift every week at the free clinic; and more.

As for identity, I consider myself an American first. But by my definition, large parts of this country -- and the political system in Washington, Republicans _and_ Democrats -- no longer feel like the America I grew up in. I'm not sure where that America is anymore.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:29 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think that anything you do that serves the common good is great, but does it make you noble? I served in the Navy with people that told me they had a choice, they could either go to jail or join the service. Mind you, this was during the Vietnam conflict. These folks certainly were not answering a higher calling. They were, I suppose, choosing the lesser of two evils.

I voluntered, but for the Navy, not the Army or Marines who were doing the on site fighting, so I can hardly be accused of answering a higher calling.

Volunter soldiers, policemen, firefighters, etc, we all chose these professions and expected to get paid. Even though we chose possibly very dangerous jobs, I fail to see how we are any more noble than the guy that drives a garbage truck, or someone that cares for the elderly. Both highly needed professions.

My only gripe is how little the citizens want to pay soldiers, firemen, policemen, etc.

My avatar says I'm proud to be a Navy vet, but that is just private and just for me. I'm also somewhat proud to be an Okie but other than that, I'm just another citizen of this planet.

Just my $0.02
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I think in terms of order/heiarchey, so to me, the military is more important. Without a military to protect the constitution, then there's no common thread connecting all of the states and cities together. Sure a city can survive on its own, but in the scheme of things its much less important than a country.

I also identify myself as American first, Southern secondly, and I'll maybe start splitting hairs between Alabama and other states (but that usually only happens when talking with other southerners.)
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm English, and damned proud of it.

If some of the guys with half a brain in the military decided to work back home, things might be slightly better than the ineptitude we currently see running the place.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:56 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BigBen
Nobility is what you make it.The problem comes when you lose sight of your importance in the world. Nobility is pride in your work. You make a difference, and you can hold your head up when people ask what you do for a living.
This is how I feel about what I do. I am a lowly administrative assistant for two facilities: one provides residential treatment for women with alcohol/drug problems, and the other does the same for adolescents. While I no longer deal directly with the clients as much as I did in my old job, what I do does make a difference in the program. I am responsible for all of our data entry to the state. The data is then used to generate statistics about our facility, and the legislature then uses these statistics to determine how much funding we get from them (which, given that we are one of the few facilities that takes state-funded patients, is important). I'm also responsible for keeping our employees happy by keeping our payroll records accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, I help to keep my bosses happy and organized, because they are the true movers and shakers at these facilities.

It makes me happy every day to see clients change and grow as they go through their recovery. I am especially glad when I get to see a client in our women's program get her children back from the state because that really reflects their growth. I might just have a boring office job, but even my office job makes a difference around here. And THAT's what gets me out of bed in the morning.

I would rather make my little difference every day in this job as I see the rewards every day. I'm doing something local that improves the quality of my community by allowing people the opportunity to recover from their addictions. Someday, I'll be in a classroom, teaching kids and making that same local difference. I believe everything we do has to start at home, and I'm walking the walk.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:06 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Is serving your country a higher calling...?
Than serving your city or state/province?


No. Serving others is serving others. Offering your community protection and service is valuable regardless of the size of that community.

Is being a member of the military a more noble purpose than being, say, a firefighter or paramedic?

No. Not every member of the military is in it for the same purpose, and that's where nobility comes from--not from what you do, but from why and how you do it.

Further, would rather identify yourself by your nationality (Canadian, American, Brit, etc) or by your hometown or city or county?

I identify myself as a member of my family first. Grace's wife and Sissy's siter are my two most important roles in my life, and somebody's mommy will be added to that list eventually.

I've moved around a lot, and I was never fond of where I came from anyway (and the feeling was mutual) so identifying by city or state never appealed to me, though I did feel most at home in the LA area of all the places I've lived. Still, that isn't part of my identity to the same degree that my family defines who I am.

Though I'm estranged from them, I still have a strong identity as Gerald and Anna's daughter, and thus tend to think of myself as being as much Irish and Russian as I do American, at least in cultural terms.

I also feel a stronger affinity to my work place as a means of identity than my country, city, or state. It's hard to connect to the idea of the country defining me, given how huge and populous and diverse it is. American means citizen of the US, but what does it mean in addition to that? What do you know about an American other than that, just based on that one piece of information? I find it a rather imprecise way of identifying myself.

So, how do I identify myself? Roughly in this order:

Family/friends: I'm Gilda, Grace's wife and Sissy's older sister, good friend to one special person. Part and parcel in that is my sexual identity, both in terms of gender and orientation.
Work: I'm Dr. Nakamura, English professor and children's lit expert.
Avocations: I'm a fan of great movies, literature, and comic books.
Community: This varies from work to neighborhood to city.
Family Background: Irish and Russian
Country: American.

Gilda

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Old 04-01-2006, 09:37 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by analog
There's just something to be said for the professions whose foundation is helping others selflessly, even knowing you could possibly give your life one day in doing so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
No profession _in itself_ is noble. There are self-interested reasons for entering any line of work. Nobility arises in people who consciously use the tools of their profession to make the world a better place. _Especially_ when it is difficult to do so.
You're both right. I guess it really depends on the person more than anything else.
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Old 04-01-2006, 10:57 PM   #24 (permalink)
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You can say all you like about local pride and you have a point, but when a policeperson or soldier walks down the street (we have a military base in town), My daughters stop and THANK that person, and for that I am proud.

The reason my life is as it is, is because my country allows me the opportunity. I wish I had the balls or capability to defend my way of life the way that my military or police do.

I recall a thread I started about a year ago when I said I was nervous because my young daughter stated that her life goal was to become a policewoman, this was right after the cop-killing in alberta. A policeman sent me a private message and we conversed for awhile. While it made me feel better, I couldn't help but think that while I sat in my cushy office, here was a guy that laid his life on the line EVERY day to protect the way I lived my life.

That, in my mind, is what a soldier and policeman do. The fact I can even speak my mind and get flamed by you people is BECAUSE of my military, police, and government. So flame on.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:40 PM   #25 (permalink)
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i think its a higher calling being in the military than say a local police officer just because of the numbers of people the person is supposedly serving, the whole country vs. local population whatever number. Think quite a few end up doing both anyway. Just seemed geared that way and i'd say i'm grateful for it, the ones i've met.

The regional thing though, i don't have it all. As much as i love where i live and probably will never live anywhere else, to me it just feels right, Its not some shout it out pride kind of thing. I don't care if its badmouthed or if someone else doesn't like it here. I just figure they'll find their spot somewhere else on this planet and if they stop whinying and actually look for their place, would guess they will find it eventually. Met a lot of people from new york city when i was in school and they always had a sense of pride about the place they came from that i don't have that mystified me a bit, actually believing its the center of earth or all universal creation. But i haven't lived there and gone through what they have, good luck to them too.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:42 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by highthief
To the second point, if a police officer and soldier are equivalent or equally noble/brave, would a city blue collar worker (the street cleaner, for example) be equivalent to the cook at an Air Force base? Or is the Air Force cook more "noble"?
I believe so, yes. The main difference to me is the fact that this cook can at any time be serving meals in a tent in a hostile situation. I know an Army cook who just rejoined his family after two years in Korea. He was home a little less than six months and has just found out that he's going to serve "in the sandbox". Yes, he's "just" a cook. But he puts his life in danger doing it. Becoming a soldier doesn't necessarily mean you tote a gun. Being a soldier means serving the "higher mission"; supporting the troops in whatever way you are skilled and approved to serve. So if your career of choice happens to be something that's not typically thought of as glorious, are you serving your country any less than a fighter pilot? Someone has to cook for the troops who are deployed. And someone has to clean out the jet engines. Someone has to program the satellites who recieve informatoin that helps combat personnel keep from getting killed. My husband spent time working on databases for a group of satellites. That's not so noble until you consider that the data he was helping retrieve and store could have kept thousands from ending up toast. Of course, I'm not allowed to know specifics, or he'd have to kill me... *grin*

His reason for doing this in the military despite the fact that he could be paid at LEAST three times MORE as a civillian? Because he _can_ save those lives. Self sacrifice for the good of others = nobility?
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:45 PM   #27 (permalink)
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The problem comes when you lose sight of your importance in the world. Nobility is pride in your work. You make a difference, and you can hold your head up when people ask what you do for a living.
*claps* Brilliant. I agree whole-heartedly. I didn't mean to say that I feel being a soldier or firefighter is more noble than any other line of work. I hope I portrayed in my previous posts that I do honestly feel nobility is in your actions. People who regularly and willingly put their lives on the line for others are just noble individuals with tough jobs. ;-) I feel like I am a noble individual. I make a difference in people's lives. But no one shoots at me because of it.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:52 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Can I ask another question here? Say you join the military (or become a policeman) for a less-than-noble reason. Especially if you are young, doesn't part of the training and lifestyle you lead teach you nobility? To an extent. Consider the high school kid who enlists because he wants to support his future family, pay for college, or whatever. Isn't a large part of who he is molded by his experience in whatever branch of service? Say this kid is thrown into the midst of conflict and forced to make decisions in life or death struggles. He's indoctrinated with a code of "honor" that the military holds very dear. That has to have some effect. Would that kid be more "noble" when he gets out (after four, six, or ten years, or even all the way to retirement at twenty) because of his life experience? Can wisdom make you a noble person?
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Old 04-07-2006, 09:49 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I don't think serving your country is any better or worse than serving your state or city. I do have a high respect for people in these fields. They usually work for lower wages and reap fewer rewards. (monetary at least)
However I know several people that fit this description that I have very little respect of any kind for. In my mind these people are only exceptions to the rule.

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Old 04-08-2006, 10:46 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClostGoth
Can wisdom make you a noble person?
Though provoking question... I don't think you can have one without the other.

I think this issue gets clouded by equating service to a "thing" (be it a country, city, corporation, family, etc) to service to an ideal or principle.

for example, when a military serviceman (or woman) takes their oath they swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States". they don't swear to defend a flag, or a President, or a dry spot between two oceans... they are sworn to support and defend ideals. if the ideals are noble then the actions taken in their defense will most likely be noble.

i believe that the US has (imperfectly) advocated the principles of justice and equality before the law, embodied in its Constitution (also imperfectly), as well as any nation since its inception. so, serving in the US armed forces is inherently a noble profession. that can change with the justice and motivation of the military's actions. we are not noble because we live in a particular part of the world or salute a particular flag.

this is equally true for state and community leaders here in the States, or for the police/military/civic servicemembers in any country. if you are serving to bring about justice and mercy in this world then the scope of your responsibility is irrelevant.
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Old 04-09-2006, 05:14 AM   #31 (permalink)
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(For myself) I've never thought of the military as serving a particularly noble purpose. I mean, I don't dislike them either - I am neutral on it. Essentially, I'd expect and hope that the military is never needed.

Paramedics and firefighters... well they do their job. Firefighters sit around a lot and get paid well for doing very little, if you ask me (in AU). They have a tough union. Paramedics can be a real pain to deal with, so I guess I respect nurses and aged/disabled care workers more. Not glamorous work - they get less pay and respect for what they do. Still, I give respect to individuals more than groups...

On province (called "state" here) vs country. Well, I've never thought about that either. Country first definitely. I've only really considered the matter after visiting another state and finding that some of them have a rivalry/superiority thing going. (Hmm, likewise, I guess I was more patriotic after working overseas.)

Overall I'm not very keen on nationalism either, to be honest. I wouldn't wave a flag, particularly these days, with Australia diverging somewhat from UN forums and global agreements. Flags really bother me actually. I hate seeing the national flag flown on cars, houses etc. It reeks to me of small mindedness, militarism and isolationism.

I'm more interested in general ideals, the stuff that one might hope is universal, but which probably isn't.

[For the record, I live and was born in Melbourne Australia.]
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:00 AM   #32 (permalink)
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i think so...

its way more of a sacrafice thats for sure.....

im a police officer but im also in the military.....i dont see being a police officer a sacrafice...its a job....being in the military is
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:21 AM   #33 (permalink)
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I think any job in which you may be asked to lay your life on the line for the life of another regardless of who they are is a higher calling. Whether you rescue people from avalanche, fire, accident, or war you are serving your fellow man. Some jobs require more from a person than other jobs do but that doesn't always make them more honerable. As other's mentioned I think it's more the level of sacrifice required.
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:19 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Well maybe. In my experience (in a volunteer capacity) - giving basic medical assistance is low risk, and you are not supposed to take risks. I've always assumed that the same is true of police and fire brigade personell.

In terms of police and fire.. maybe this is lower risk in AU? We have less guns and shootings. In terms of fire, well we have nasty bushfires, but in city areas there are strict controls on buildings (sprinklers etc). Probably we have fewer old buildings and fewer tall buildings than the US, due to lower pop. density and later european settlement (no offense meant here to the natives of course).

Getting up to the military. Well I suppose there is a risk there. Is it to save others? I'm not sure.

Overall, you probably have a point though.

Perhaps also, I've never thought of life as being so valuable though that I'd afraid to risk it. This probably colours my perception somewhat, or blinds me to things.
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:08 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Great question.

I've come full circle, although I didn't end up where I originally started. When I joined the military some 25+ years ago, I did so out of a sense of duty, honor, country. I believed I was answering a higher calling and entering a noble profession.

I entered the part of the military that shrouds itself in total secrecy. No, it's not as glamorous or exciting as you see in the movies although Tom Clancy certainly comes close to describing the real thing. What resulted from these experiences was a somewhat jaded and cynical outlook towards global politics and the military missions ordered to accomplish certain national objectives.

When I was deployed to Bosnia, it was without much enthusiasm for that mission. I thought it was a huge mistake to send US troops to fix a problem that should be handled by the Europeans. It's their backyard, and nothing that happened in Bosnia would have any direct impact on our lifestyle in the United States. During that first year, there was lots of evidence of the pure hatred that existed in that region. I've seen the mass graves, I've seen entire neighborhoods left in total ruin, I participated in the hunt for the evil men who brought such horror to these people. But the defining moment for me came on the day when the Bosnian children were going to their first day of school.

The significance of that day was that it was the first time in four years the children could do something as simple as attend school without fear of a mortar attack, gunfire from snipers or watching their mothers attacked and raped. The children waved to us as they passed our HMMWVs, and some of the parents were smiling with tears in their eyes, some of them bringing loaves of bread to us as tokens of appreciation.

There are many other aspects I haven't even touched on that convinced me that military duty is a higher calling. It is indeed a noble profession. However, I have a more balanced outlook rather than a blind jingoistic view. I acknowledge the political realities of national objectives and understand Clausewitcz's axiom of "war is an extension of politics by any other means." But there is also a sense of selfless sacrifice, devotion and love of country that exists down in the trenches and manifests itself when the time counts. Not all military experiences are the same, and there are a number of bad apples who give a bad impression for those not familiar with the warrior ethic. However, generally speaking, you can pretty much count on a military veteran, especially one who has heard the sound of shots fired in anger on a battlefield, to have a certain degree of self-discipline and sense of mission accomplishment. You will never hear them say, "I can't."
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:37 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Further, would rather identify yourself by your nationality (Canadian, American, Brit, etc) or by your hometown or city or county?
Personally, I'm far more likely to say I'm a Texan than that I'm an American. Even with members of other countries, they tend to know where Texas is since it's so large and has such a sense of pride in statehood. I don't really have a hometown, since the longest I've lived in one place is 5 years, and that's the house I was in for high school as well as the dorm I've lived in at school. Here at Texas A&M, people ask me where I'm from, and I answer with my dorm name, as it's an ingrained sense of identity for me, and home to the greatest group of men I've ever known outside my father and paternal grandfather.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:34 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I'll never understand why people are so proud to be from Texas. I've been there, and it's not that great a place.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:19 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I call myself a Canadian mostly becuase I have lived all over this country, but grew up out west so B.C. is home to me, but I don't call myself a west coaster, or what ever would call someone from B.C.
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:40 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Old 04-17-2006, 12:46 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I tend to think more highly of policemen and firefighters then I do of the military. I was in the Army for five years (just got out this month) and I just don't see why we got more attention then the people protecting the streets of our country everyday.

My problem is that the military is getting so much attention because of all the needless deaths happening in a country we shouldn't even be in (please don't flame, just my opinion). Yes a lot of those people are heroes, but so are the men and women that clean up crime, stop drugs from corrupting people, put out fires, etc... These people do more good for our country then we see, but the focus of the media is always on the soldiers dying in Iraq/Afghanistan. Unfortunately not much will change until all the troops get home, where they can do their real job of protecting our country instead a country 8000 miles away.
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